Auto Trail F70 Review.

Jonno1103

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 27, 2017
848
869
Harrogate
Funster No
50,207
MH
F Line F70
Exp
Since 2012
Auto Trail's Tribute model range took a huge change of direction during 2019 & 2020, designs & styles based on their mainland European stablemates such as McLouis, Roller Team, Chausson & Benimar's Tessoro were mated to their tried and tested traditional British floorplans.

The result has proved very successful... five models ranging from the compact 6m F60 & F62 right up to the more recent island bedded, 7.32m F74.

Until 2016 the Tribute brand was manufactured away from the U.K. although marketed by the Grimsby coachbuilder in the same way they continue to do so with the Tuscan built Roller Team. For 2021 the Tribute brand has been dropped entirely, the result is the new F Line built at the Lincolnshire factory alongside the Expedition, V Line & Adventure vans and the coachbuilt Imala, Tracker & the flagship Frontier models. The facility is also responsible for the production of other Trigano Group van conversions.

This is a review of the 2020 Tribute F 70.

The first thing you'll notice is the base vehicle, Trigano & Auto Trail have chosen the Ford Transit. This was after a consultation with the parent company who have also decided that their flagship Chausson Platinum will now only be offered with a blue oval badge.

Ford have done a lot of work since 2016. They have moved away from their PSA partnership for engines over 2.0L opting for a clean sheet approach which has resulted in their direct injection 2.0L Ecoblue "Panther" powerplant launched in 2017 which is offered as a 130ps 385Nm 6 speed manual or the very beefy 170ps 405Nm mated to the same gearbox. Both can also be specified with the cost optional 6 speed full automatic gearbox.

Ford didn't stop there, they have also fabricated their own motorhome specific wide track chassis.

So what do you get in the standard base vehicle?

Externally the standard colour is Blazer Blue, black bumpers, 16" steel wheels & trims & an underslung 16" steel spare wheel. Under the bonnet lives a standard 2.0L 130ps 370Nm engine & a 6 speed manual gearbox. Washer bottle, brake fluid, engine and gearbox oil fillers & dipsticks are readily to hand making refills and top ups easy. The fuel tank is 70L, the filler a spring loaded push flap. The Adblue is 21L, the filler is a screwtop housed directly underneath the fuel filler. The usual play with the passenger door is needed here to gain access to both.

Internally you'll find both driver & passenger swivel seats with height and lumbar adjustment, cruise control with limiter, multifunction trip computer & generous cupholders, glovebox and door pockets plus 12v & usb charging. There are also very handy cubby holes above the cab which can easily house a full size atlas. You also have the usual DRL's ABS, EBD, driver & passenger airbags & central locking. On the dashboard is an integral spring loaded catch which can house a sat nav or smart phone. We have an Aguri sat nav in ours.

We went for cost optional Drivers pack at £1499 which gives you a choice of a further 6 cab metallic colours- we chose Magnetic Grey, power adjustable heated mirrors, auto lights & wipers, colour coded bumper & side mouldings, fog lights, heated windscreen & screen washers with level indicator, cab air con and a lock for the glovebox. It's not noted in the literature but you also get a 2nd 12v socket.

Habitation

Front to back then. As said you'll get swivels on your captain cab seats which are comfortable and can be adjusted in height to compensate for the very shallow step which separates the cab from the homologation. The facing bench seats behind convert into a very generous 4'8" X 6'9" double supported by steel U shaped legs. There is a lot of storage underneath both which on the nearside houses the vent for the underslung Whale warm air blower and underslung 100Ah leisure battery and on the offside the top of the underslung water boiler and the electrics. Both Whale systems are protected from knocks by 10mm ply partitions stopping you from inadvertently catching any exposed wiring.

Above the cab is a decent sized shelf under a large opening, blinded & screened sun roof and two cubby's where we have our camping books etc. There's a large locker above the nearside bench with a shelf, all my media gear goes in here and the curved locker door has a sturdy positive catch. Two medium sized matching shelved lockers above the offside bench too.
This lounge area also has two large windows with blinds & flyscreens although you need to be wary as the habitation door clashes with the offside window. I'd have liked to have seen a sliding window here. There's four directional reading spotlights fitted under the lockers, ideal for those who knit or crochet etc and for those using this area as a second bed although with the greatest will in the world the bench seats aren't really designed to be used as a permanent bed. On the driver side there's also a switch for the lounge area lights and a double USB socket.

The kitchen has a European feel to it. L shaped with a smoked glass lidded three burner hob on the right, a matching circular sink to the left leaving a decent amount of prep area which is also where you'd plug in your kettle or toaster... and in our case Bob the dishwasher! Underneath the sink the large door opens to reveal a very large pull out cutlery drawer and two shelves. Under the hob lives a combi oven with a small cupboard underneath where you can slide in a few pans. In the two lockers above we've fitted crockery holders in the right and tea, coffee, rice, pasta caddy's, teapot, toaster & kettle in the left.

Carrying on along the offside next to the kitchen is a 142L fridge with a large slide out at the base which can easily house 9 bottles of wine, at the top is a good sized freezer. Underneath the fridge freezer is a another small cupboard matching the one under the oven.

Opposite all of this is the washroom. Thetford swivel loo with a tall shelved cupboard above, exposed shelving next to that and a large mirror above a deep square sink with a click clack plug. Under the sink is another large cupboard. The washroom is finished off with the usual Auto Trail fully lined shower with a concertina shower screen with magnetic catch, the loo roll & towel holders plus a hanger for your robe.

At the rear there's two single beds which can be converted to a transverse double, we keep them as singles. Under the nearside mattress is an insert which houses the lounge table. The bed base is integrated into the mattress which makes it a little heavy and cumbersome to refit after the table is removed. There's a knack to it, fit the bottom then pushdown in the middle. The cupboard underneath is a large space which can house a tall laundry bag and other sundries, there no light so we've fitted an I.R rechargeable LED. If I was kid I could easily have fitted in here with a torch and a Marvel comic... it's big! Offside is similar in size but here we have a hinged lift up section of the bed base as well as a large door for access as its the wardrobe. There are also two generous inset shelves which on one I can fit around 10 5XL folded T shirts and around 6 pairs of folded shorts. There's ample space on the rail for two.

At the head of the bed there are two lockers, his n hers if you like, these again are generous and the one I use can easily accommodate my 15 pairs of boxers, same for socks and a few other bits and pieces .Under each is a spot light for reading... sitting up is a challenge but workable. The lockers are separated by two shelves and another double USB. At the foot of the nearside bed are 12V & 230v sockets designed I suppose for a 2nd TV but we use them for the hairdryer and further charging points. There are good sized windows either side with blinds and flyscreens plus a roof light with the same.

To get into the beds there's a step with a hinged lid. We use this for all of our dry grocery, you can stack cans 3 high and can easily stand a bottle of wine or two. In the U.K. we can get a weeks worth of ambient food in there.

All in all the F70 is a well balanced motorhome offering realistic "two zone" living.

In use the motorhome is spacious, the more than ample storage means we don't feel cluttered and the overhead lockers and lower cupboards aren't overfilled.
This of course is due to the full width rear garage which has a 150kg weight capacity. There's a handy strip light and a couple of inset shelves either side and in terms of height can easily hold a full size camping table on it's side against the rear wall.

We also opted for the £1399 Lux pack. This gives you the Zenec Xzent 9" touch screen head unit with DAB, Bluetooth, Telephone, motorhome specific sat nav & built in rear camera which can be used permanently. External BBQ point, Omni directional aerial, 100w solar panel, habitation & cab carpets and an upgraded Hartal hab' door with a window, double central locking and flyscreen.

On the road the Transit won't disappoint. When coupled with the 6 speed full auto the 130ps engine get's an increase in torque to 385Nm. This is more than ample to pull a fully loaded F70 easily at 70mph along a motorway. For drivers who wish to travel at 60-65 you wont get near 2000rpm. The cab is very comfortable on long journeys with all of the switches at your fingertips. Cruise, media, telephone & computer are all mounted on the steering wheel in the same way you'll find them on a Mondeo and the blue lit dash is more relaxing on the eyes when travelling at night. Whether manual or Auto you'll also get start/stop which can be deactivated.
The missus much prefers the Ford to the previous Fiats we've owned, the wider track and lower centre of gravity offer a stable ride on the road even at speed which means she's now happier to share the driving.

Build quality
The F Line is seen as entry level. There are maybe one or two indicators of this, there's no microwave, no light switch inside the entry door and only two 230v sockets. They're built well, cabinets, bulkheads and partitions are well secured using industry standard 10 -12mm faced ply which is well finished. Locker hinges are sturdy and well fixed. Heating ducting & water pipes are fitted tidily and fixed using an abundance of clips and there's no exposed wiring. The Whale heating works well and the water heater is extremely good. Externally sealant is neat & tidy, side mouldings are fitted against the GRP body using rubber fillets rather than a thin bead of Sikaflex.

We've had the motorhome from new, 30th June 2020, since then we've covered just over 4500 miles with no issues in regard to the build and the fuel fault caused by a recall has been rectified rapidly.

We went for the Tribute F Line F 70 130ps auto 16" alloys, Drivers pack & Lux Pack weighing 2868kg on delivery.

We added a dealer fit Fiamma F80 3.5m awning 30kg and swapped the aircon from our previous A class 30kg.

Two twin double sockets one in the lounge and the other in the garage.

All in all a very nice package for a bit under £54k.
 
May 3, 2021
76
150
Funster No
80,868
MH
AutoTrail F70
Nice review, not much changed in the 21 model.
We have a specific user group on Facebook now, your experience would be handy.
 
OP
Jonno1103

Jonno1103

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 27, 2017
848
869
Harrogate
Funster No
50,207
MH
F Line F70
Exp
Since 2012
Thanks sitsurfer, I've just been on Facebook, membership is pending.

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Sep 13, 2018
122
332
Gods own
Funster No
56,173
MH
Sunlight T67s
Exp
Getting the hang of it
Nice to hear from a happy Autotrail owner so many tales of doom and despair with Autotrails they can't all be bad.

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Jonno1103

Jonno1103

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 27, 2017
848
869
Harrogate
Funster No
50,207
MH
F Line F70
Exp
Since 2012
Nice to hear from a happy Autotrail owner so many tales of doom and despair with Autotrails they can't all be bad.
Never been an unhappy Auto Trail owner and we've had a few. Hire companies swore by the Tributes built in Grimsby, said they were better than the older ones built in Europe.

I've no time for those who think dealers are just robbing cowboys and British manufacturers are crap. I know a bloke who bought a Benivan from Marquis as Brownhills are idiots and the V Line he originally looked at was British rubbish... Marquis have messed him around and the Benivan is built on the same production line as said V line. Loves his Spanish Benivan but has now added Marquis to his ever increasing list of dealer idiots.

Most problems are caused by the chassis cab builder or habitation parts manufacturer and most dealers and coachbuilders are governed by their timeframe. Poorly built habitation areas and major GRP sealant issues are not that common across any brand.
 
May 2, 2021
25
19
Selby, UK
Funster No
80,833
MH
Auto Trail F70
Exp
Newbie
Hi thanks for the Review, were getting the 2022 model at Hopefully the end of october we opted for the 170 auto we have a house full of the Bits required for general living , the Awning,sat dish are dealer fits but the Avtec wifi is now a dealer option ,
 
May 3, 2021
76
150
Funster No
80,868
MH
AutoTrail F70
The FB group is gathering numbers, it's been quite a useful experience for many of us and has not detracted from the value of forums such as this where the information is slightly less focused given the span and breadth of experience available.

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